Fringe Review: The Human Kind ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review: The Human Kind

      Email Post       12/10/2012 02:36:00 AM      

“You are here.”

I hope I’m not the only one enchanted by the common statement “You are here.” From mall maps to novelty tees, this simple, obvious sentence seems to sum up all the things we do wrong: worry, plan, lose sight of the beauty before us while questing after more beauty, further down the line. (Or maybe those are just things I do wrong.) “You are here” refuses solipsistic complexity to remind us of the one thing we can’t overthink: simple existence. Hopefully not a lonely one.

The Observers are readers of time and probability—and that is what makes them as calculated and unkind as they are. Not only because their tech transformed their brains into emotionless supercomputers, but also because the beauty of the present moment, and the possibility of inhabiting it mindfully, becomes lost when the then is just as real as the now and the might be. Can we ever be really here if we know exactly what here will mean in ten minutes, ten days, ten days?

Fringe’s portrayal of knowledge has always been ambiguous. On the one hand, knowledge equals power: discovery (both scientific and forensic) leads to understanding, which leads to the world not ending, and so on. On the other hand, knowledge diminishes compassion. Walter choosing to remove parts of his brain, Peter’s struggle over whether to keep the tech or not—these motifs are based on the show’s deeper theme of the importance of compassion and human connection.

In the real world, does compassion only arise when knowledge is renounced? No. Does the false dichotomy that Fringe presents bother me? No. In lesser hands, this season could have easily turned into a cut-rate Michael Bay movie, in which the Heroes defeat Villains and avert Catastrophe by Act III. Instead, Fringe focuses on how villainy can come from within, how heroism has not just one price but many, and how catastrophes can be both global and very, very personal.

Like most of you, I was interested in watching Peter turn into an Observer. (And I loved the hypothesis that he was the first Observer, and the paradox that would create.) But I like this solution better: at the last possible moment, Peter realizes that he is here, having lost a daughter but not yet having lost his wife, father, or friend Astrid. Not yet having lost himself.

Peter’s decision also means that Olivia hasn’t lost all hope. As Jill Scott pointed out, Olivia lacked faith, trust, and hope. Olivia herself confessed that she’d lost any sense of the world making sense: telepathy was an “anomaly,” not a gift. The universe was random, and that randomness was cruel. Her realization that we never really lose the people we love—that they are always here with us—helped draw Peter back into the present moment, away from a future of probabilities, cruelty, and baldness. He decided to be here, not elsewhere.

And now for a radical switch in tone: this episode is gorgeous and—on an emotional level—probably one of the most significant in the series. But (to illustrate a question that stems from a lack of content with the here and now): what next? Peter removed the tech; can he still defeat Windmark? Can this terrible future ever be re-written? Walter and Astrid continue to mine the amber for clues; Olivia’s mission was to pick up a very important magnet for the very important plan—but we still don’t know what that plan is. There isn’t much Fringe left, and I’m starting to get anxious for some resolution. A dash of hope wouldn’t be amiss, either.

Random Things:

• Once again, my DVR didn’t record Fringe. I do not understand how this can be a problem so consistently with just this one show. Grr!

• Because I had to watch this episode On Demand, I had to watch the commercials. Horrifying commercials include:

• Loew’s Hardware, which is attempting to make customer-tracking into a selling point,

• A cell phone commercial that claimed the phone in question wouldn’t just upgrade your phone, but “upgrade yourself,” and

• Gwen Stefani’s commercial for the new Windows phone, which includes the insultingly dumb-blonde line, “Songwriting is so hard, but I love it!” said in a voice eerily similar to a Barbie.

Three out of four bullets that saved a marriage.


Unknown said...

"ten minutes, ten days, ten days? "
years then

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

BTW Great article. Thanks.
BTW2 I watched this episode online with no commercials and I still can re-watch it or download to PC/phone/whatever.
Hello from Russia.

yan said...

Славик чисто по Русский, "а че да спиздеть же можно, а вы лохи за это платите". :-)

Unknown said...

Так и есть.

Zepp said...

Thanks Josie Kafka, his thoughts give "wings to my imagination!"

If I were an alien being, and were observing the planet Earth, would surely find these very strange its peculiar inhabitants. Was I seeing that this planet has beings of various races, different skin colors, customs and traditions, and also different, moreover communicate through different languages, which, when they interact, or try to interact, almost always arise some difficulties understanding each other. I could only assume that these different groups of these people, self called "Earthlings", just do not go out of their planet, for others, it simply can not. Why leave if they could, I think it also would not leave, they are already well accustomed to all this. And despite all that, this constant clash of cultures these people, I see that there is a purpose equally between them, which is the pursuit of harmony, love and happiness for themselves and for their fellow next. So it went, as follows and follow always been, and always will be! "E la nave va ..."

Already, the planet Fringe, these things told, are not very different, and constitute, in my view, in a consequence, or a result of all this, which I have declared above. All that rotates on the planet now Fringe is also a result of a clash of cultures, only that in this case, among people of the same origin but in different planes temporal well. On one side we have super advanced humanoid beings that dominate everyone and everything, and on the other the sentimental humans, desperately fighting for their liberty, for their valuable free will. And when the time to take down, forever, the nefarious leader of humanoids arrived, the call came from greater sense among humans, which is love that leaned in favor of preserving life, to the detriment of revenge and pain loss. Right now, for me, that emotional act of preserving the love, the small group of humans, called Fringe team began to win, so unappealing, the logical numbers of these advanced humanoid dictatorial.

For me, Fringe has always been a tough struggle for life, liberty and the sacred feeling of love. And in this episode 508 won emphatically, the feeling of love.

Anonymous said...

Love Schmuve.

Did anybody see the awesome fight scene? Windmark, bloody face and all, was about to get his butt kicked when he had to call in his bouncer for back-up. Lesson 1 - Fascists don't fight fair... ever. Peter takes a blade to the chest, then reverses in microseconds to shive the bastard bouncer with his own blade. Lesson 2 - never hesitate to eliminate the enemy... mercy only means they get the opportunity to do more evil - when you could have prevented it. Now that Peter is free of the tech device AND knows how the bad guys think and react... he has an advantage over them. It was like an internship in Observer boot camp for Peter. Lesson 3 - Knowing the enemy as well as you know yourself allows for better surprise and diversion during any future attack.

Unknown said...

Great comments!!!

Unknown said...

Fantastic episode love the Polivia moment at the end!!

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